Donors like iPads. Of course, they say they don’t (“you can’t need my money if you can afford iPads”) but they appreciate the security of electronic data, not having to leave their Direct Debit details on paper in the hands of a fundraiser they only just met.

Door to door fundraisers like iPads too. Assuming there is a signal and can connect to the internet, they can fill in, complete and process a Direct Debit on the doorstep, and correct any errors while the donor is right there.

And charities like iPads. Fundraising Initiatives, who launched their iPad based mobile validation service at the IoF in 2012, say the technology can lead to an increased return in the first four months following donor sign-up, as the charity benefits from at least one extra donation payment due to reduced time between sign up and first donation. 166% increase in welcome call contact rates. 20% reduction in attrition. Powerful stuff.

So let’s make the most of it. Since the fundraisers have got an iPad in their hands… hey, these things are pretty good for playing media! Why not give them something to show the donor?

Donor Recruitment Manager is called in. The door to door agency is going to be giving their fundraisers iPads, so we need something in addition, something from the charity, to show donors… it needs to engage and inspire them. We’ll leave the detail to you. If you could sort that out for us in the next couple of weeks, that would be great.

You could have your fundraisers give a bit of a guided tour of your website, or show your latest DRTV (if you have one), but you’d be missing a trick. This is a new medium. It’s video, but it’s outdoor. It’s digital. A new approach is required.

Did you know that being approached on the street by face to face fundraisers actually triggers an adrenaline response? We can probably conjecture that having a stranger approach your private dwelling, your sanctuary, might do something similar. The ‘big bad wolf’ at the door – do we play dead, hide, ignoring the open windows and music coming from the kids’ upstairs bedroom? Or answer the door and confront the threat head-on?

Sindre Edland-Gryt, writing for the Guardian on line, takes the position that face to face fundraising is often negative and pessimistic; it triggers action out of guilt; it lacks creativity. If we are able to turn this around, perhaps we can instead create a release of endorphins instead of adrenaline.

I believe passionately that the future of digital fundraising (and I’m including the use of iPad videos supporting face to face fundraisers here) is by engaging and inspiring, not motivating by guilt.

If you’ve been tasked with creating an iPad video to support your face to face fundraisers, have a look at this little movie I made with my partner. The points to keep in mind are simple: but the simple rules are the most important to remember and the easiest to forget.

LENGTH: try standing in silence with a stranger on your doorstep and you’ll really understand just how long three minutes is. Keep your video short.

SOUND: Forget the sonorous voiceover, dripping with emotion. Even quiet exteriors are noisy, and all it takes is a well-times skateboard or police siren and your key message is lost. The guy on the doorstep may be hard of hearing. Your video needs to have sound, but needs to work without it.

TITLES: He’s hard of hearing and he needs reading glasses too. Keep titles short and sweet.

MOOD: too much need triggers feelings of guilt which, while motivating on some level, can also stir up resentment in your prospective donor. Your fundraiser is there to make the ‘sale’ of why they should support your charity, the video doesn’t need to do that job. The video is there to create a good feeling between prospect and fundraiser, to make the prospect feel like he didn’t make a big mistake in even answering the doorbell. Liz Tait of Battersea Cats & Dogs Home recognises the need to “engage people by showing what Battersea is all about and how warm and happy it is here.”

Simple. If you’re not having a great time making your iPad fundraising video, something’s wrong. It’s short, upbeat, inspiring (rather than grim and needy), and it’s going to win you great results.

Finally, please just remember manners and consider what happens after the deal is signed. As a charity, you probably only pay for donors who are still on your base after a few months, but it’s in everyone’s interest to keep that number as high as possible. Since you’ve got instantaneous gift processing, you can straight away fire off an email with another video (you know they’re responsive, on some level at least, to video), a really heartfelt thank you. Preferably from a direct beneficiary, or if not from someone who can talk with passion about what your work really means.

Digital video is the future, friends. The iPad fundraising movie is the start of your donors relationship with your charity, so if you’re seeking the ‘holy grail’ (yes, we’ve really heard charities use those words) of the charity:water model, then as soon as your iPad movie is signed off you can start thinking about how you’re going to integrate video into the rest of your welcome process and stewardship programme. Jump in with both feet: the rewards won’t stop at the doorstep.

Previously published on UK Fundraising.

Fundraising Initiatives bring mobile validation and iPads to face-to-face fundraising
Putting the ‘fun’ back into fundraising
Fundraising through iPads